UKTOUSA and The Valley Snow Dogz


At Valley Snow Dogz, we offer Fall Wheeled Sled Dog Rides, along with Winter Sled Tours.

An authentic, memorable sled dog experience based right in the heart of The White Mountains. Please call 603-340-2390 for more information. Valley Snow Dogz....Creating memories for families, groups and anyone who has a burning desire to experience a sled dog adventure and learn about our dedicated life with our furry families

Valley Snow Dogz CALL 603-340-2390

Live Free And MUSH!

Live Free And MUSH!
Valley Snow Dogz Kidz Event at Loon Mountain Resort

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bringing Santa Into Town Square, Waterville Valley NH

I don't typically do anything public with my dogs other than social mushing and racing, but this event fell into my lap on a couple of occasions over the last several years and so I decided to embrace it and I'm so glad I did, as it was a wonderful charity fund raiser. The event planners had asked me to participate in selecting a charity for the event. Through my friend Gail Casonguay, I discovered the Marshall Family and suggested them as the charitable recipients. The event planners (Lori Bowen and April Smith) embraced the Marshall Family (who are adorable) and so, the Santa run was scheduled for Saturday November 28th at 3:30pm.

Despite the freezing frigid, cold wind, there was quite a crowd. The atmosphere was excellent and the amount of support from local police officers and event people, was just excellent. There were many onlookers, people with dogs and small children as we were dressing the ATV and harnessing the dogs over at the Rec Center.

Many thanks goes to Richard who has been out with me and the dogs all season long and was so willing to dress up as an elf and wear green tights. Also many thanks to Peg and Peter Hendel who were amazing and such wonderful helpers. They were with us from start to finish. Another thank you goes to Jaye Foucher who was a familiar face in the crowd and a spontaneous helper. As we pulled in with Santa, Jaye jumped in to assist right at a critical moment when the dogs were pulling hard and I needed another body on the ATV so that I could hug Santa good-bye as I dropped him off by the gazebo. Jaye then took my camera and was able to take a bunch of photos for me and helped get the team safely to the truck. Great timing Jaye ! Peg and Richard were upfront with my leaders but I was unable to see them because of the crowds!

The dogs were coming off from two days of rest so they were really rested up. We had quite a bit of speed on the blacktop and into a left hand turn which lead to a dirt trail. Santa held on and we literally flew onto the dirt trail with a great view of Town Square, Corcoran's pond and the crowd infront of us. The cheering was so loud. The dogs were enjoying the excitement and despite the brakes being full on, we were moving fast over the sand on the beach, then over the loose stone and onto the bridge. The cheering continued and the crowd was now all around us. I was grateful at this point for the Can-am experience as the dogs have to go down a tunnel of onlookers all calling out at you as you mush by the crowd. Santa looked great, I had a full elf costume on, the ATV was decorated in Christmas ribbons and bows and the dogs all had red bandanas on.

When I finally stopped the team, I could barely see the dogs. There was a lot to pay attention to... getting Santa safely off the ATV, saying our good-byes and pleasing the crowd with photo opportunities, letting the crowd love the dogs and take photos and listen to the police officers who were wanting to move us through the crowd. They did an excellent job and everyone was simply terrific. Dogs remained focussed and calm and really, apart from it all going by so quickly.... it was a blast. We were very grateful to be part of this event and to have the opportunity to raise funds for a good cause and a wonderful family.

Thank you to everyone who helped and who supported the event and of course the biggest thanks goes to my dogs. In lead I had Yahboo and Rosie, then in point I had Daisy and Cookqiz, team dogs were Tonka, Nellie and Zsa Zsa with Tiger-Lilly and Bobby at wheel.

One last word, much to my surprise were the number of people from our past who were there to reconnect with us and to witness our love of the dogs and see the dogs in all their glory. Three sets of people who we knew from years ago, came up to us and asked if we had Sasquatch with us. It brought a smile to my face and an ache to my heart. He made an impact on all who knew him and after all this time, his spirit lives on.

Fixing The Trailer Before We Can Leave!

It's been a season of broken equipment. The trailer broke the night before on our way to running dogs. Richard worked hard all morning to fix it, finsihing literally 20 minutes before we were due to leave for Waterville Valley.

Peg and Richard Have Fun Decorating The ATV

Peg was so gracious to help, she had just returned from a very long trip and no doubt, still trying to orient herself with being back hom from China and Instanbul. She was a gem and super good with the dogs.

Richard Struggles With His Elf Tights

The tights were supposed to be extra large, he struggles to get his muscular legs and butt into his tights. After lots of tugging and face pulling, he finally manages it. As you can well imagine, the onlookers enjoyed watching the struggle.

Dressed For The Santa Run Charity Event

The sign on the front of the decorated ATV says "Be Positive". When Cameron Marshall was diagnosed with Leukemia and given his blood type, he was told it was B positive to which he told his parents that it would now be his 'motto'. So in honor of his strength and positive attitude, we made sure that we had a sign on the ATV that did indeed say
(how large do I look !!)

Thank Goodness There Was No Snow On The Road

Police officers wait to assist the team.

Heading Towards Town Square In Waterville Valley NH

A freezing cold day with an incredible sky infront of us which kept changing color throughout the afternoon. We just came off Rte 49 at quite a clip, there was a fairly sharp left hand turn coming off Rte 49 onto a dirt trail, which we took on two wheels. Santa was enjoying the thrill ride and so was I. The team was on fire and clearly, enjoying the whole atmosphere. We had a superb police escourt, the officers were wonderful. A couple of the officers were familiar to me and so, it was nice for them to experience the dogs, especially Dave, who had previously helped me with a flat tire (thanks Dave!)

The Crowds Close In

I just dropped off Santa and headed to the truck. It was so windy and cold. I had layers on under the elf costume so I look rather well endowed in this photo :0) It was a super charity event and I truly enjoyed meeting the Marshall Family and there wonderful kids, especially Cameron.

Finding Our Way Through The Crowd

Yahboo and Rosie did a fine job leading the team through the tunnel of people and dealing with all the attention, the cheering, and miscellaneous distractions such as dogs on leashes, small kids, fluffy toys and lots of candy.

Great Shot Of The Dogs Pulling Hard

Brakes on, two of us on the ATV and they are just pulling so hard. After two days of rest, this short run was sure to be a thrill ride, they had immense power today, especially on Rte 49 until we hit the dirt trail.

Peg Jumps On The ATV With Me

Great shot of Tiger-Lilly and Bobby at wheel

Heading Back To The Truck

Little did we know that just moments after this shot, the crowd abandoned Santa and enveloped the truck and the dogs. Literally scores of people with children, dogs and sticky candy. Dogs were hugged, squeezed, kissed, photographed and simply adored. I was grateful for the extra help as it took several of us to stay with the dogs, talk to the crowd and ensure that everyone left satisfied and that the dogs did not get intimidated by the volume of attention.
I couldn't have been more proud of my cute team, they handled the whole event with such grace and good behavior. Lots of little children had their photos taken with their cheeks pinned up against Tonka and Zsa Zsa, Bobby was a hit as he enjoyed tooling around with everyone and hugging them with his strong legs, Lilly - aka the 'heart breaker' (as named by admirers at the Greenville 30 race) was a star and often found laying in the lap of a child or two with big googly eyes as the little girls would say her name and kiss her head. There was so much going on, so many questions to answer, so many photos being taken that I couldn't get the camera out and take as many photos as I would have liked. I was appreciative that Jaye was on hand to help and take photos.

Great Job Yahboo and Rosie!

One More Glimpse Of Richard In Tights

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Lovely Thanksgiving Day

Okay, so the 'loo' on wheels has nothing to do with mushing, but as my equipment is slowly deteriorating, I'm wondering if this is how I might end up running dogs !!!! As I get older... hey, it might not be such a bad idea!

I spent most of the day cooking. A nice roast chicken with potatoes and veggies for me and Richard, along with some butternut squash and cinnamon buns for desert. Then I cooked up some sweet potato and chicken for Tisha, in the crockpot and meanwhile, there was a pot of chicken stew and rice on the boil for the rest of the dogs. After we all feasted on some good home cooking, we loaded up the dogs and set off for a long, evening run with the ATV.

It was one of those thick pea-soup nights. I knew it was going to be so foggy at Hill so I was glad hubby was with me. As we set off I heard a 'clunk', not a sound I had heard before. I pulled over and Richard checked the truck and trailer and couldn't see anything unusual. Off we went but still, I knew I heard something irregular. When we got to Hill, I walked to the back of the truck and saw that the arm of the trailer, nearest the trailer bed, was sinking in a 'v' shape. The ATV was pointing nose down to the ground instead of being parallel to the ground. When we looked, the arm was almost detached from the trailer bed! All that really held it together was the wiring for the lights. We were lucky to make it to Hill without losing the trailer and ATV.

Pea soup was indeed the way it was out there. Probably the most fog I've seen in a long time. Whatleigh and I used to freak out in it last season, barely knowing where we were some of the time as we bush-wacked the fields and other times, laughing when we could see each other but we would only be a few feet apart.

After running the dogs, Richard then managed to bungee and chain the bed of the trailer to the arm and then to the truck so that we could make the trip home. I now have a bungeed ATV (holding the steering in place) and a bungeed trailer!!!!!

Despite these humble circumstances, running dogs continues and somehow, we manage to just simply just make it work!

Life After Poop!

For those of you concerned about how Richard is doing, he is doing fine. He has recovered from being showered in dog poop, moose poop and deer poop and has since come to terms that this sport of ours lends itself to 'one' being extremely dirty during the Fall training months... though we all know that poop is really a big part of what we handle (so to speak) on a daily basis and not something we can get away from!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poop, Poop and more Poop!

I should have had my camera with me, but then again, maybe it's just as well that I didn't. Who needs to see pictures of poop! We headed north for a few days of running dogs and just as we set off down the road, Moose started to pant a little. He was in the back of the cab on Papa's old blanket that comes everywhere with me. Moose being almost 13 yeas old, is at that stage when he can't always control when he needs to poop. Sure enough, he pooped laying down. Within a second of his deposit make itself present (not a pleasant odor)... Richard lept in the air and grabbed Moose's poop with his hand. Swung his hand in the air, past my head (I was driving at the time) and quickly found a plastic bag in the truck to drop the poop into. Now, not only did he have poop all over his hand, but as he swung his arm over my head, he swiped his poop covered hand onto the felted roof of the cab. I couldn't figure out what on earth possessed him to pick Moose's poop up in the first place!! When I asked him, he said he didn't want Moose to roll onto it and smear it all over him and the blanket and then we'd have a real mess. I made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts so that Richard could wash his hand, but first, he had to get into Dunkin Donuts with poop all over his hand....

Well so it continued for Richard. The following day we were on a run with the dogs, we were on a bend that we had done several times that day, but I had switched leaders. Yahboo was now in swing. I guess when she had been in lead, she remained focussed on the job at hand and missed the pile of moose (not my canine Moose from the paragraph above) guts/intestine right on the trail. Well, I guess being out of lead allowed her to look elsewhere and in a split second, she dived into the intestines which were full and I mean FULL of moose poop. She tore a huge section of the intestines off and as it swung in the air.... a few of the dogs, mainly Daisy, caught it. They all ate a good chunk of it. Meanwhile, as this was happening, Richard flew off the ATV and as he dived on the girls to pull the yucky stuff out of their mouths, he got covered in moose poop.. all over his hands, his jacket .... GREAT, we still had quite a few miles by dog team before he could liberate himself of his jacket and wash his hands. On we went. Cookqiz was in lead with Rosie, doing a fine job. Up the hill we went.... the dogs started to lope and I caught Bobby sniffing the air. "Oh No" I thought to myself "what now?" Just as I had that thought, Cookqiz came across a large pile of Deer poop and took a good mouthful as did her friends behind her. Goodness, how much animal poop can these dogs possible want to eat !!!! Richard lept forward to nudge the team away and as he did, some poop flew up at him and yes, once again, he was splattered with poop. He spent 24 hrs solid, smelling of poop.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Everything Blue

'Everything Blue'
The color of the sky, the depth of an ocean
Sadness inside, a grieving emotion
A bridesmaid dress, the icing on a cake
Feather off a bird, the ripple on a lake
A tuneful note, a heart warming monologue
Everything Blue,we miss you blue dog

Dedicated to Blue Dog who recently crossed the rainbow bridge, very unexpectedly. Blue Lived with my best friend Whatleigh from Barking Brook.....he was a shared gift between us as he was very dear to me too and he knew we were close friends and so, he wanted in too and stole my heart. He would welcome me with such love and passion as if he were a part of Uktousa, well... he was, very much so.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trying To Capture A Comparison In Height

..... between Rosie, Cookqiz and Hana. Hana who is now 4 months old has some legs on her. Recently weighing in at 34lb, I really think she is heavier as she wasn't quite still on the scale and I was holding her. I bet she is more like 36lb plus. As you can see, she is just a bit shorter than the other two girls, around 23 1/2 inches at the shoulders.

The Rear View

Interesting shot of two of my Hedund Girls. Rosie to the left and Cookqiz to the right. Great way to see how similar they are. Cookqiz is just a bit taller and a little more robust, she is currently out of coat. They were busy looking down the driveway as Richard was pulling in.

Husband In Training

Without any real conversation or planning, Richard has stepped up to co-musher this season and hasn't missed a single training run, much to the delight of the dogs who simply love having 'daddy' (aka Richard) onboard. Inspired by our good friends Kim and Kelly Berg, we have practiced a slick routine of unloading and getting dogs harnessed and on the gangline in pretty decent fashion with both of us responsible for various tasks. Having been used to doing everything myself for many years, I've settled quite well into having hubby come along and join in.

Last winter we enjoyed quite a number of runs together, I would hook up a tandem sled behind mine and off we would go on our adventures. It was lovely, we would stop along the way for tea and a snack while the dogs had a rest and something to eat and drink to. I guess it started then, we just got into a routine and it has spilled into this Fall. It's been really nice to share my thoughts and running goals with Richard and to get his feedback.

The other evening we had a fun race with Kim and Kelly.... the race wasn't on the trail, instead, it was at hook-up. With a few less dogs than Kim and Kelly, the goal was to not get left behind, but instead, see how swift we were at hooking up in record time and equal to the girls... so much fun! Richard was yelling " come on, come on..... we're ahead ".... we laughed so much. Once on the trail, each time we would go up and down a bit of an dip or round a twisty bend, Richard would raise his arms in the air as if he were on a roller coaster. Took me a while to figure out why he kept raising his arms in the air!

Anyway, it's wonderful to hear him ask what time we are training each day and that he wilingly helps in getting gear together for each run. Who knows, perhaps our dream of us both running and racing a team each will eventually come true.